Vertex intersection graphs of paths on a grid

Andrei Asinowski, Elad Cohen, Martin Charles Golumbic, Vincent Limouzy, Marina Lipshteyn, Michal Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the class of vertex intersection graphs of paths on a grid, and specifically consider the subclasses that are obtained when each path in the representation has at most k bends (turns). We call such a subclass the Bk-VPG graphs, k ≥ 0. In chip manufacturing, circuit layout is modeled as paths (wires) on a grid, where it is natural to constrain the number of bends per wire for reasons of feasibility and to reduce the cost of the chip. If the number k of bends is not restricted, then the VPG graphs are equiv-alent to the well-known class of string graphs, namely, the intersection graphs of arbitrary curves in the plane. In the case of B0-VPG graphs, we observe that horizontal and vertical segments have strong Helly number 2, and thus the clique problem has polynomial-time complexity, given the path representation. The recognition and coloring problems for B0-VPG graphs, however, are NP-complete. We give a 2-approximation algorithm for coloring B0-VPG graphs. Furthermore, we prove that triangle-free B0-VPG graphs are 4-colorable, and this is best possible. We present a hierarchy of VPG graphs relating them to other known families of graphs. The grid intersection graphs are shown to be equivalent to the bi-partite B0-VPG graphs and the circle graphs are strictly contained in B1-VPG. We prove the strict containment of B0-VPG into B1-VPG, and we conjecture that, in general, this strict containment continues for all values of k. We present a graph which is not in B1-VPG. Planar graphs are known to be in the class of string graphs, and we prove here that planar graphs are B3-VPG graphs, although it is not known if this is best possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-150
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Graph Algorithms and Applications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Geometry and Topology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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